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Centre warns of COVID-19 third wave, says no herd immunity in population yet

Amid widespread public negligence regarding pandemic-appropriate behaviour due to declining cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in India, the central government warned that the possibility of a third wave is very real as India’s population is yet to get herd immunity. The next 100-125 days in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic will be critical, NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said on Friday, adding that people need to remain ‘cautious’.

“The question of the third wave keeps coming back,” Paul said during a press conference on Friday. “This is because our population is still very vulnerable. We still have not reached the stage of herd immunity nor do we want to acquire herd immunity through infections.”

Pointing out the sudden rise in Covid-19 cases around the world, Dr VK Paul said it should serve as a warning sign for India. “Leaving the North and South American regions, all other WHO regions are moving from bad to worse,” he said.

Spain has registered a 64 per cent rise in the weekly Covid-19 case spike, Dr Paul highlighted. The Netherlands, on the other hand, has seen a 300 per cent rise in the same figure. Elsewhere, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Thailand have also registered an increase in the number of cases, while a 50 per cent spike in cases was also recorded in Africa, he said.

“The world is moving towards a third wave and this is a fact,” he said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, has asked us to take this as a red flag and warning… the Prime Minister has given us the target to stall the third wave and it is possible.”

Paul said that although India has progressed in terms of Covid-19 vaccination and now nearly 50 per cent of the “most vulnerable group” above the age of 45 years is protected, the infection can still spread. “This will also impact mortality and it will come down, but the infection can spread,” he said, “We are vulnerable, the virus is still around.”

India will have to watch out for the signs of a third wave of the pandemic over the next 100-125 days, and people will have to adhere to all Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. “If we all decide, then there will not be any third wave,” he said. Hindustan Times